By Brad Segall

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) – A former University of Pennsylvania economics professor who bludgeoned his wife to death in their Upper Merion home more than five years ago is asking the state to approve his request for a pre-release program.

Doctor Rafael Robb (pictured in file photo), now 61-years-old, was sentenced in November 2008 to five to 10 years after pleading guilty a year earlier to voluntary manslaughter. He was denied parole last October, but under Pennsylvania law can apply for pre-release into a halfway house in the Philadelphia area.

That’s angered Ellen Robb’s family, who has lined up advocates to lobby the Department of Corrections to deny the request.

“I think the message that we send out when we say that five years is enough for taking a life in such a brutal way, destroying the daughter’s life, that’s a horrible message to send out,” says Maria Macaluso, executive director of the Women’s Center of Montgomery County. “So, I think we collectively have to have a voice to say this is not acceptable to us.”

Her concern is for their daughter who graduates high school this year and is headed to college to start a new phase of her life.

“She got through this other time five years ago at Christmas time, when he destroyed her life at that point. Let her have this opportunity to get a new life going somewhere else at college without him inserting himself back into her life.”

Robb is housed at a state prison in northwestern Pennsylvania.

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